To optimize the summer study abroad experience choose a program that is relevant to the country. I did a study abroad one summer in Rome, Italy. The title of the course was Film 3002: Film and the Italian Aesthetic.
I found out about the course through the language department at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Professor Saranjan Ganguly, who is the department head of Film Studies, was the program director. The program was a 3-week summer study abroad in Rome, Italy.
Professor Ganguly organized the course with field trips to various areas of Italy, but the main city was Rome. Our classroom was in Rome with the city as the backdrop for many of the films we studied.
During the day we were in the classroom learning about the Italian films and film vernacular. The focus of the course was art and architecture represented in film. We visited many sites to see the interactions between the art forms. We saw the transformation of many these sites that were represented differently on film.
We viewed 7 films, each followed by a lecture and discussion. The movies were filmed in Italy and most were a product of a famous Italian director.
Don’t Look Now, UK filmmaker and released in 1973. The film was setting was in Venice
La Dolce Vita, Italian filmmaker and released in 1959. Directed by Federico Fellini and the film was mainly set in Rome.
L’eclisse, Italian filmmaker and released in 1962. Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni and filmed in Italy.
Caravaggio, UK filmmaker and released in 1986. Directed by Derek Jarman and was filmed in the UK.
Nostalghia, Italian filmmaker and released in 1983. Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky and was filmed in Italy.
Voyage to Italy, Italian filmmaker and released in 1953. Directed by Roberto Rossellini and filmed in Italy.
Intervista, Italian filmmaker and released in 1988. Directed by Federico Fellini and filmed in Italy.
We went on field trips as a group or on our own to sites that related to the films. In the film La Dolce Vita, the The Trevi Fountain has a prominent role in the film but my first impression of the fountain was that it looked smaller in person then in the film. Also in the film La Dolce Vita, The Baths of Caracalla had been remodeled into a nightclub but the real baths are in ruins. The magic of film transformed the ruins into a modern structure.
For the film, Voyage to Italy, we took a road trip to Naples to visit Pompeii. I thought Pompeii would be just another ruin in Rome, but as our guide explained, many aspects of the city came alive with the real people who had lived there.
Most Universities in the US have a study abroad department that can help you find the right program for you. They can tell you all pertinent information like finances, what you need to prepare for the trip, passport information, etc.
Once you sign up for the program there will be mandatory orientation meetings that cover important topics that will prepare you for the study abroad experience. At CU Boulder, the department is very thorough in preparing the students. This information helped me transition from Colorado to Italy.
I recommend finding a program the integrates the course study with the country’s culture, history, art and its people. It makes for an enjoyable summer study abroad experience.